On May 26, 2011, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the Holy Father published his views in a letter which heralded the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it “as the supreme model of sacred music.” Concerning so-called modern liturgical musical innovations, Pope Benedict wrote: “We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.” For quite awhile I have been hearing about the ‘traditional choir’ at St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco. Today, I finally got to hear them. I was blown away. As if the beauty of the Church architecture was not enough to transport you to another realm of consciousness, the music uplifted the soul to the ceiling. I have been to many Masses that incorporated Latin music and Gregorian chant; sometimes the effort comes off as forced or somewhat jarring. The St. Dominic choir effortlessly blended their musical accompaniment right into the liturgy. Reminds me of this further quotation from Benedict in the same letter: “The liturgy, and therefore sacred music, lives in a correct and consistent relationship between healthy traditio and rightful progressio, always keeping in mind that these two concepts - that the Council Fathers clearly emphasized - complement each other because the tradition is a living reality and, therefore, it includes in itself the principle of development and progress.” Originally Gregorian chant would have been included into the old Tridentine Mass, but the music at St. Dominic should surely serve as a model for other churches that want to include this timeless art with the Novos Ordo. If others are interested in attending the Mass with the traditional choir: the Sunday Mass is at 11:30am.
There is also a beautiful shrine (pictured above) to St. Jude located at St. Dominic's Church.